Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find volunteer questions and answers. For further questions simply contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.  HERE ARE SOME WORDS FROM OUR PREVIOUS VOLUNTEERS:

Helpful Tips for Thailand

Mundo Exchange Volunteers and Interns

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Mundo Exchange!  Below you will find information from Mundo volunteers to incoming volunteers and interns.

Getting to Thailand

When you book your airline ticket to Thailand there are many discount and promotional flights that can be found on the net or through a travel agent.

Talk with your air carrier or travel agent and ask questions that pertain to your own travel plans and needs. We ask that Mundo volunteers take out travel medical insurance.

After you select your flight or travel mode to Thailand please send your travel plans to us. Also, send us information on when you are scheduled to travel to the Udon Thani, Nong Khai or Bueng Khan and what form of transportation you will take: air, van, train, bus or plane.

  • If you plan on arriving after noon we suggest, for safety, you get a room at a guest house in Udon Thani or an hour a way in Nong Khai. Thailand is the 2nd in the world for road accidents and driving at night is not recommended.
  • Volunteers often use the Mutmee Guest House in Nong Khai where reservations are most often a must.
  • If you would like to be picked up in either the Udon Thani or Nong Khai areas we can have a driver meet you at your guest house or at the Udon Airport. A two week advance notice is required and our fee for pickup in Udon or Nong Khai to Bueng Kan is $100.00 for 1 to 4 people.  For larger groups, we can arrange a van and driver.   If you want this service let us know as soon as possible and make payment in full at least two weeks in advance. This allows for stops along the way with knowledgable guides. You can also take a mini van from the airport to the the bus station in Nong Khai then go from there to Bueng Kan for under 500 baht. You can get a taxi in Udon for about 3000 baht to Bueng Kan.

To and From Bangkok Airports

When you arrive in Bangkok from your home country you may land at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is pronounced “soo-wanna poom”. Some International flights go to Don Muang, however, when there is flooding Don Muang may not be a choice.

At Suvarnabhumi you will arrive at a very large terminal building used for both domestic and international flights. You will also find within this airport good ATM’s, restaurants, shops and the like. On the bottom floor there is a Thai information counter and hotel counters that can help during most hours. During the day you will find many stores for shopping in the Departure Area. Those having flights from neighbouring Asian countries could also land at the Don Muang Airport.

There are a number of ways to travel to your hotel or guesthouse. Make sure to check for updated information on line and ask at the airport. Some sites that volunteers with Mundo suggest using for updated information are http://www.bangkokairportonline.com/ and http://www.intoasia.com/bangkok/airport/

Accommodation in Bangkok

We usually schedule our arrival into Thailand to allow us to spend a night or two in Bangkok to rest, eat great food, adjust to the time change, and check out the temples and other sites unique to Bangkok. There you will find many good guesthouses and hotels.

Whether you are going to try finding accommodation after arriving or have decided to pre-book your guesthouse or hotel be ready for a true cultural exchange. If you know where you will stay, copy the name, address and phone number prior to arrival in both Thai and English. Most hotels and guesthouses have address info on their site or will send you information to print out. If so, give a copy preferably in Thai to your driver and make sure they turn on the meter. At this time there is an additional 20 baht fee to pay the driver.  Most taxi driver cannot read English or maps.

For information on what to do in Bangkok some recommend http://www.nancychandler.net/

Ways to travel to your guesthouse or hotel from the Bangkok Airport:

Some hotels and even guesthouses that you can book on line will often pick you up at the airport for a fee or for free. You will probably see your name held by a Thai employee as you leave the airport baggage terminal.  Check their instructions to know where to find them.

  • For local busses you can most likely take a shuttle bus outside Level 2 of the airport to the bus terminal located a few minutes from the international airport. These local Bangkok public busses run various areas of Bangkok for a modest fee. There are usually additional taxis there too.
  • On Level 1 near Entrance 8, you will currently find, but only before midnight, the Airport Express Busses. This ride will take about an hour to an hour and a half if you are going to one of the following areas: Victory Monument-Hua Lamphong train station area, Sukhumvit, the traveler’s Khao San Road or Silom areas of Bangkok.
  • There are metered taxis outside the terminal. Go downstairs to level 1 near entrances 3 and 7 and go outside to the queue. You will be asked your hotel name and address, have a copy with you. You will not pay at this time. A cab will collect you and your things. Make certain the taximeter is on. If the meter which is located to the right of the driver is not on, ask the cabbie to turn it on. You should expect to pay a surcharge, and road toll taxes. If you do not have small change tell the driver and then pay all once you arrive at your hotel or guest house. At this writing you should expect to pay around, 200 to 1000 Baht depending on traffic and how far you expect to go. There is a 20 baht fee for the taxi driver too (2016).
  • You can also use the BTE transit system.  It is efficient and reliable if you have Thai Baht and are an adventurous soul.    Check at the airport for current information.

(TIP) Most volunteers do not recommend taking rides with those who may approach you in the airport terminal and want to take you to a waiting taxi parked in the car lot. They suggest you will pay more for ride and accommodation. This may not always be true but there have been complaints from both Thai friends and volunteers.

If you arrive at the Don Muang Bangkok Airport you may find there is an inexpensive or free bus shuttle to the new airport. There are also buses and metered taxis outside this terminal to transfer you into Bangkok.

Getting to Udon Thani, Nong Khai or Bueng Kan

*If you enter Thailand via Bangkok make sure that one of the first things you do is arrange for your transportation to Isaan via bus, taxi, train or plane. Your hotel or guesthouse can usually help you with securing transportation tickets.

By Plane

Flights going to Udon Thani usually go out of both Bangkok airport, Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi. During floods Don Muang has often been shut down. This travel option takes about an hour to arrive in Udon Thani. At the Udon Thani airport you can take a 200 Baht shared van to Nong Khai. The Udon terminal is small and the counter for this ticket is near the door right in front of where you exited after collecting your luggage. If you are coming to Bueng Kan ask them to take you to your guest house or to the only bus station in Nong Khai where you can easily get a ticket to Bueng Khan. If we are meeting you at the airport in Udon stay at the entrance near where you exited after collecting your baggage.

By Train

Volunteers can travel to Udon Thani or Nongkhai by train either in the morning or evening from the Hua Lamphong, near the Don Muang Airport. You can also go from other railway stations so ask what station is nearest to your guesthouse or hotel. If you go during the day you will see the beautiful Thai countryside. It will take around 11 to 12 hours. If you decide to go at night, you will arrive in Nongkhai in the morning. Food and drinks are available but we advise bringing some water and food with you too. If there are flood problems there can be daily changes so check with your hotel upon reaching Bangkok. Purchase as soon as possible your train ticket in Bangkok.

Day Train Options: 1st Class: Aircon, 2nd Class: Fan, 3rd Class: wooden seats with open windows Check out http://www.railway.co.th/ for information on available northeastern train seats, times, and prices of tickets to Nong Khai. Also, Thai trains are usually not on time.

By Bus

You can arrange for a bus through your hotel or guesthouse. Ask them about options. Make sure to find out if they will drop you off in the city of your destination. If they say they will drop you off at a guesthouse outside of town, go with a different company or expect to pay more for tuk tuk ride into town.

****Be sure to let us know your arrival plans to Bangkok and to Isaan: day, date and time. Email us at mundoexchange@gmail. Also call us at 0899658762 once you have arrived in Thailand. We highly recommend you bring or purchase an inexpensive or used cell phone and get a Thai sim card once you arrive in Bangkok or at your orientation.

Getting to Udon Thani to Bueng Kan and Mundo Exchange’s Volunteer Centre:

By Bus: Four to five hours from Udon Thani to Bueng Kan.  Fare is approximately 150 to 200 Baht

By Van: Three to four hours.  About 200 Baht (but if you have luggage, you will have to buy a second seat as they have no “luggage space”

By Taxi: two to three hours.  About 3000 Baht

By Mundo Transportation (if available):  $100.00 for 1 to 4 passengers (PREPAY TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE). We stop at Buddhist wats and other places a long the way.

Other Useful Volunteer Tips

  • Country Code: 66
  • Dialing cell phones when in Thailand: 08, 09 or 02 Bangkok and then the number
  • Currency: Baht comes usually in 10, 20, 50, and 100, 500, 1000 paper bills and smaller coins in satong, 1, 5, and 10.
  • Don’t wear short shorts in Thailand, except at the beach
  • Take off your shoes before entering a Thai home, some stores, Buddhist wats
  • Show respect for the Thai Royalty at all times
  • Never touch the head of another person
  • If you are a woman never touch a monk for they will then need to meditate for along time if you do so.
  • Don’t point your foot at anyone or even touch a coin with your foot
  • Don’t sit on desks when teaching
  • Don’t blow your nose at the dining table even if you have just eaten the hottest chili in the world.  Step away from the table to blow.
  • Smile and enjoy
  • Rest one or two days in Bangkok before coming to Isaan
  • Electricity: 220V 50H, bring an adapter if necessary
  • Electric Plug Details: European plug 2 circular metal pins and Japanese style with 2 parallel flat blades
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC +7
  • NEVER SIT ON A BHUDDA OR POSE HANGING ONTO A BHUDDA STATUE
  • NEVER SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THE ROYAL FAMILY OR MILITARY GOVERNMENT
  • Don’t gossip with others and don’t complain about someone with others – it ALWAYS gets back to them
  • Stay COOL, CALM AND COLLECTED.  Yelling will get you nowhere in Thailand.

Thai Immigration and Visas

Several visa options are available, but they depend on your nationality. To be on the safe side, contact a Thai Embassy or Consular office in your home country or departure country for the latest information regarding visas. For the latest information go to: http://thaiembdc.org  If you are coming to volunteer for less than a month many flying into Thailand get the one month tourist visa at the airport. If you plan to volunteer for more than a month we will send you necessary documents to obtain a non immigrant O visa and work permit. Remember to check your visa stamp you obtain before leaving the immigration counter and if you have questions, ask the Thai immigration officer at the airport or overland check booth.  Be sure to do so before you depart from the check in area!

Throughout Thailand, you must give the hotel or sponsor your passport information so that they can let immigration know you are staying in town.  Mundo Exchange and its Thai host will be your sponsor when you are volunteering with us.  During  your orientation, we will go with you to immigration office to fill out the appropriate paperwork. Government officials are very supportive of our volunteers, since our efforts and our non-profit work is for Thailand and includes the component of cross cultural communication growth and understanding.

Thailand Employment and Long Term Volunteering

If you are going to volunteer for more than one month or would like to seek employment in Thailand after volunteering with Mundo Exchange you will need a copy of the following:

  • A police report
  • medical insurance policy
  • several visa size photos with a white background (no hats or glasses) (check the Thai embassy website for the exact size one needs for both a visa and a work permit)
  • A letter from your doctor documenting your good health
  • Financial statements
  • A copy of your drivers license, passport, and return ticket
  • 2 letters of recommendation from co-workers or teachers acknowledging
  • some of your past work and volunteer exchanges
  • Educational or work awards, qualifications
  • Vitae or Resume

Letters of Recommendation and Certificates of Completion

Those successfully completing their volunteer or intern exchange will receive a certificate of completion for their cross cultural training component and orientation and volunteer work. For successful interns and volunteers staying 3 months or more, we have found that we have enough time with you to offer letters of recommendation for work or university. We enjoy doing this for you and have found that in all cases it has been very helpful.

Medical Information

When it come to vaccines and medical advice we have found that each individual has their own unique needs.  Some of us take medicines for malaria and others do not. We recommend you talk with your own doctor and then decide what to do. We have hospitals, clinics and doctors in case you require care while you are in Thailand.  We also will have an evacuation plan for you. Your Thai host will accompany you if you should need any medical attention.

It is a good idea to bring your own supply of antibiotics and medicines for your unique needs. Medicines may not be available in Thailand.  Again, talk with your doctor about your health care in while you are in rural Isaan Thailand so that you have the appropriate medicines and vaccinations for your medical needs.

We HIGHLY recommend having International Health and Travel Insurance that covers Emergency Evacuation in case you get seriously sick or have an accident and need to leave the country.

What to Wear while volunteering

Remember that unlike the beach areas of Thailand, where shorts and tank tops are commonly seen and acceptable, Thais from the Isaan area, irregardless of economic level, like to be clean, conservative and neat in their dress. To be respectful, visitors should also dress conservatively. Thais usually shower and change their clothes twice a day. They do not dress as if they were going to the beach.   The rule of thumb is to watch and then do and wear what the majority of Thais are wearing. Clothing that reveals your shoulders and chest or shorts above knee level is NOT recommended when you are out in public in the NE Isaan area. By wearing what the majority of Thais wear, you will blend into Thai culture and be accepted by the elders and most professionals in your new home area.

We ask that Mundo volunteers wear nice slacks, skirts, dresses and loose fitting cotton shirts when they are with their Thai families, work, schools, meetings, and at social dinners. Thais often feel the collared pullovers or button up shirts are more appropriate than t-shirts. Lightweight cotton is best. Think nice casual or what a teacher might wear to school in your own country and you will do well.  If you wear shorts, they should be knee length or longer. During the cool season, October to January, you might want to include a sweater, pullover or lightweight jacket.

If you want to swim, conservative swim wear in Isaan is appreciated.  When you are on the beaches in the South, people wear all sorts of modern swim wear, but in Isaan, you will feel much more comfortable in swim wear that is less revealing!

Bring a pair of slip-on toe covered shoes if you can get them, since you will be taking off your shoes on a regular basis.  A pair of light weight socks is an excellent idea.  Bring or buy a pair of comfortable flip flops as well as a pair of runners/tennis shoes if you would like to hike, bike or go for walks with your Thai hosts and friends.

There are markets in the larger cities where you possibly can buy clothing suitable for Thailand, but keep in mind that the average Thai person is small, so there might be a problem with clothing and shoes sizes L – XXL.

What to Wear at a Buddhist Wat or Temple

If you wish to visit or stay at a wat or Buddhist temple, men should bring and wear loose fitting light colored or white loose pants and shirt. Women do the same and can also wear a long white skirt. We recommend your clothing be loose fitting, not tight, not see through, and that you do not wear clothing that reveals your shoulders or legs. Many have not been allowed into parts of the  Grand Palace in Bangkok for not doing the above.If you spend a night at a wat, expect to sleep on a very small mat and live simply.  In some wats you will eat only once a day.  One cannot smoke or drink alcohol at a wat.  Most monks and nuns speak minimal English but enjoy learning from you and teaching you their ways. If you would like to visit Buddhist nuns and monks who are in a beautiful forest wat near our Centre let us know, as it is a good idea to have the permission of the Pra Ajan (head priest) before you enter.

Weather:

1. During February to May temperature usually range from 20C to 42C

2. June to September you will find the Thai rains that may go on for days or last but a short period of time

3. October to January the Thais call it the cold season where temperatures can drop below 13C at night with the days USUALLY being warm (Some of us find a wool hat and lightweight down vest or coat can be very helpful during those cold times as Thai homes do not have any source of heat.)

What To Bring: (Remember, these are just suggestions – travel light but include what you will need!) 

  • Small and inexpensive light weight gifts for your Thai hosts are nice to bring with you. This could be something like a small book of your country to a picture of you and your family, a local candy. ·
  • We recommend you bring pamphlets, pictures and info about your country, work, family, community, friends, animals and the like to show and exchange. You can use these with people of all ages who want to practice English and get to know you better.
  • Bring a list of simple English learning games for sounds and vocabulary, educational CDs and other materials that are lightweight and helpful.
  • A cotton sleep sack is great since Thais usually don’t provide top sheets.
  • We will provide you with a bottom sheet and most likely a top sheet, blankets, pillows and a mattress, which is often on the floor.
  • Copies of your passport name page: your travel and health insurance policy and phone numbers of company: other important papers. Some volunteers keep one copy in a suitcase and another copy near them at all times.
  • 2 ATM credit cards – some have lost their card to nasty Thai ATM machines and were glad they had brought along another card.
  • Your laptop or Pad if you have one and want to bring it
  • Digital camera
  • Informative educational Internet sites that relate to learning English, helping the environment and occupational skills.
  • Informative Internet sites on Asian countries and especially Thailand. This is a very good way for your Thai hosts and students to learn more English
  • A sweater or jacket and wool cap
  • A good sun lotion
  • A hat for those hot days
  • Flip-flops
  • A copy of your travel medical and accident insurance policies
  • Water bottle and mini water filter

Also bring or develop an attitude of flexibility and cultural understanding. In Thailand you might be scheduled to teach or work with a group and find out at the last minute that you’re on an outing going to a temple or elsewhere. This is Thai life and no matter what we think, do or say this is what will happen. What you will need to do is bend with their ways, adjust your perspective and smile the Thai smile.

As a volunteer take the time to talk with your hosts when and if you become frustrated with the changes that occur so often in Thai society. We will give you more information during your Orientation and throughout your stay to help you with integrating into Thai culture. Culture shock is something that we all experience and is a great means of developing long-lasting personal growth and international understanding.

Our Thai Centres

At our centre you will find teaching tools, Thai/Western toilets, showers that most of the time have hot water or a large bucket to take a shower Thai style, a place to cook, fans, fridge, bicycles.

Near by are food stalls, laundry facilities, an internet café, restaurants, a swimming pool, guesthouses and hotels, local markets and temples.

In Bueng Khan you are close to the Mekong River where you can walk, run or ride bikes. Exercise groups are close by for those interested in joining.

When staying at the volunteer house, volunteers are expected to keep their own areas clean and share home responsibilities. When traveling there is a place to keep your gear and you will have a key so that you can come and go. Volunteers are responsible for their own valuables so you should be careful to lock them up before leaving.

Most volunteers stay at a homestay with a Thai host family where they eat meals and share Thai life and responsibilities. Other volunteers live at teacher’s homes, teacher housing, or have a place at their Thai host home. These homestay volunteers learn what Thai life is like. You share dinner with the Thai family and have time to work on lessons and wander around. We will provide you with a bicycle, fan and anything else you may need. Bathrooms may be like those found in the West or cities or may be a bucket full of wonderful cool water. All who complete home stays learn more of Thai life and people.  You will pay a minimal fee to Mundo Exchange for your room, air con and food while you are on your Homestay (currently the fee is 1500 Baht per week, plus an additional 200 Baht per week if you choose to use air conditioning. Please check our website for the most current fees (www.mundoexchange.org)  We then give the funds to the Thai family for electric, water, gas, and food. Volunteers who elect the Homestay option are welcome to come back on Friday to Sunday afternoon and for holidays to stay at the Bueng Kan volunteer home.

Other Useful Info from Volunteers

Food: When you are in Thailand, you can find local food that is cheap and great. Expect to pay 40 to 50 Baht for breakfast and lunch, and 50 to 125 Baht for dinner. Tell them “Mai Pet” if you want fewer hot peppers. If the menu is in Thai just look around and let them know what looks good. “Poc” is the word for veggies. Local markets are full of fruits and veggies. Ask for a sample of those foods you don’t know about. Expect to eat Thai local food while on placement. If you are a vegetarian let us know and we can accommodate you.

Cleanliness: Thais shower two or three times a day. It is important to Thais to have clean bodies and clothes. They will expect you to adopt this habit and will let you know about it if they think you have not done an adequate job of staying clean.

Banks: Close early (around 3 or 4 in the afternoon) but ATMS are usually available.  ATM’s at the International Airport at the time of this writing offer a good exchange rate.

Water: Drink a lot of bottled water and avoid tap water.

Public Conduct: Only recently can you see Thais kissing on TV. Thais in Bangkok sometimes hold hands but in your village or small town displays of affection should be in private.

Thai Questions:  Thais will sometimes ask very personal questions even when they do not know you well.  You do not need to answer personal questions, but should not become angry about the questioning.  One tactic is to either switch the subject or, instead of answering the question, ask the same question to that person.  Usually the subject will shift quickly.

Thai Comments to help you be a better person:  Thais tend to be quite blunt about personal appearances.  They do not do this to hurt your feelings, but rather to be helpful.  Comments such as, “My, aren’t you fat”  or “You really need to go on a diet”  or “That blouse is too sexy on you” are not uncommon and meant only to be helpful guides.  It is good to practice a few responses should you be one of us with physical appearance flaws.

How Does a Mundo Volunteer Help Others Through Paying Volunteering Fees?

A few have asked, “Why do I need to pay to volunteer through Mundo?” We do not connect with rich families or schools or projects so we compensate those who help you. We ask you to pay so as to help those that assist you with projects and to pay those who prepare for your orientation or come and pick you up in Udon or Nong Khai, or those who prepare for your stay. We also use your fee to pay for abused children, special needs children and adults, hospice care, hospital, elder, blind, educational projects to name a few. None of us accept salaries.  We work pro bono. We ask you to pay for your own food and personal needs expenses while at the volunteer home. At the home stay we ask you pay the home stay family 1500 to 1700 baht per week which is about 6 USD a day for your food, laundry services, aircon, and for other expenses the family pays for you to stay.  On an average the people we compensate make about 7000 baht a month which is barely enough for food and home expenses of their own.

Final notes/words of wisdom:

If you are one to get easily upset, critical or angry just keep it in until you can talk with one of your hosts. Staying Jai Dee or cool hearted is culturally important. When it’s 2 hours past the time for the train or bus to come, just stay “sabai” – take it easy.

Thailand is full of gastronomical delights.  Be prudent about what and where you eat and drink – AVOID shredded ice.

We hope this has helped you.  Any information/ideas/feedback is well appreciated from all of us here at Mundo Exchange and we will pass it on to new volunteers helping Mundo Exchange.

When in doubt, The Mundo Team is available to help!

Working together, exchanging ideas, experiencing new situations and exploring other cultures are part of what makes volunteering so important to us and we believe often to this world.  Thank you for all your efforts!  We are looking forward to teaming together!!!

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:

  1. How do I apply?
  2. Why am I paying to volunteer?
  3. Who profits from my payment?
  4. What kind of accommodation can I expect?
  5. What is the difference between a home stay and staying at the center?
  6. What kinds of volunteers are needed?
  7. Who should join the Mundo Exchange team?
  8. What are Mundo Exchange’s experiences with volunteer work?
  9. Does Mundo Exchange work with other organizations?
  10. Besides helping to bring volunteers to needed areas what else do you do?
  11. Why did you start Mundo Exchange?
  12. Where does Mundo Exchange work?
  13. Who will I work with?
  14. Are starting dates flexible?
  15. What skills do I need for your projects?
  16. Can you meet me in Bangkok and help me get to my orientation?
  17. How do I get to my placement and orientation?
  18. Why Us?

1. How do I apply?

After reading about our projects fill in our application form, telling us how you would like to participate and when you would like to begin.

We will talk with our local hosts and get back to you soon. At that point we will work together with you to give you more information on your individualized program. Then you will receive information on preparation for your experience, required visas, medical information, and more. If you like what we offer, you pay the application fee to secure your placement.

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2. Why am I paying to volunteer?

If you’ve never volunteered in an overseas exchange before, we understand that it may seem contradictory to pay for a volunteer position. We ask for a small fee from you that will go directly to the community where you will be working. We believe it is fair to compensate the families, placements and hosts who help you during your time spent volunteering. You also contribute to our funds for several local community development causes as well as your accommodation, materials, transport, and development of this volunteer program.

When taking into account a typical daily budget while traveling or living in your home country, we think you will find the fee you pay during your stay to be very reasonable.

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3. Who profits from my payment?

The local people, community and country where you visit or volunteer profits. Your money goes primarily to the local community. It also contributes to our sponsorship program. Mundo Exchange is a strictly non-profit organization and no directors, members of Mundo Exchange legally can not receive salaries.

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4. What kind of accommodation can I expect?

Accommodation in Thailand is quite livable by most standards, however some of the Western amenities cannot be found in our rural locations. Bedrooms may be shared with another volunteer, beds may consist of thin or hard mattresses, and fans rather than air con may be the norm. The traditional Asian squat toilet is sometimes found in Isan, Thailand, rather than a Western flush toilet. If you have more specific accommodation requests we should be able to arrange them for you. A combination of home stay and center living is also possible.

If you feel you need more comfort or privacy, we can assist you in arranging a hotel stay.

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5. What is the difference between a home stay and the center?

Home stays are available for culturally sensitive visitors and volunteers staying a minimum of two weeks. At the Center those residing also have access to kitchen facilities so they can cook for themselves, and will have access to a few more Western amenities. Center visitors pay for their own food and personal supplies. Those wanting a home stay often live in rural areas with a local family or in placement housing. At Home Stays visitors and volunteers pay our host mom and family about 1500 baht per week or about $7 USD or 6 Euro a day for food. The family then provides all meals and of course Thai snacks. Specifics regarding each home stay vary. Staying with a Thai family is a wonderful opportunity to be immersed into local culture and to help your home stay hosts learn about your culture while also providing them with some additional financial help.

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6. What kind of volunteer is needed?

We encourage all types of people with varying backgrounds and interests to volunteer with us. Participants should be individuals who are excited about foreign experiences. We welcome people of all walks of life and encourage diversity. We also encourage travelers and backpackers seeking short-term stays as a way of giving to a community during their travels.

Mundo Exchange is not for those wanting to live and work with others from the Western world but rather for those wanting to live in and learn from another culture.  We have fun but work together to improve the local situation while exchanging ideas with another culture. Volunteers can be travelers, families, teams, pairs or individuals just feeling the need to help others or to learn about a new way of life.

If you are motivated, can communicate openly, are fairly independent, flexible, have a positive attitude and sense of humor, can accept others as they are, and enjoy new and different exchanges you are welcome.

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7. Who should join the Mundo Exchange team?

If you believe that helping and exchanging information about computer training, business, the arts, English language and more can be important to improving the lives of others and yourself then Mundo Exchange is where you belong.

If you are interested in an international volunteering exchange where your work and your money goes to helping others, then Mundo Exchange is for you.

If you have a desire to help in community development projects in areas where there are few other foreigners, then Mundo Exchange is for you.

If you believe that cross-cultural exchanges are important to this world, then Mundo Exchange is for you. For more information read about our vision.

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8. What are Mundo Exchange’s experiences with volunteer work?

Many of our team members have volunteered most of their lives. Some have given their gap year, career breaks, or vacation time to international volunteer programs.

Many have started programs helping the young and old alike, others that are victims of war, natural disasters and economic hardships.

All of us have volunteered and believe that giving of self is a rewarding and beneficial experience.

All believe that having sanook or fun and working together is essential to this world or ‘mundo exchange’.

Some of us have high school education while others hold doctorates in their fields. We all are equal in knowledge, compassion and the desire to support this exchange.

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9. Does Mundo Exchange work with other organizations?

Yes. We work together with like-minded non-profits, associations, schools, government agencies and more. We enjoy working in cooperation with the many who strive to make this world a better place for those economically underprivileged, displaced or harmed by human made or natural disasters.

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10. Besides helping to bring volunteers to needed areas what else do you do?

We often create project based educational curriculum in the areas of computers, the arts, environmental protection, health, and more. We exchange information about sustainable development, agriculture, and provide free classes to individuals and small groups who are seeking to improve their economic existence or just learn.

We often work with community people who are master teachers. We offer our instruction at our centers to help business skills. We work to support peace and mutual respect.

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11. Why did you start Mundo Exchange?

We are a diverse group who share the desire to work with international communities. We provide financial assistance and education.

We often bring visitors and volunteers, willing to contribute financially and personally, to mostly rural areas where their skills and money will be used to assist community development projects, educational projects, and cultural exchanges.

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12. Where does Mundo Exchange work?

Currently we are concentrating volunteer assistance in an area of Northeastern Thailand called Isan. We help in small towns and villages where we have been asked to send visitors to help. We work in an area considered by teachers and the government of Thailand to be the poorest region of the country. Most residents of the Isaan area are farmers. Many in this area seek English language, computer and other career skills to improve employment choices.

 

13. Who will I work with?

You will work within a small Thai community with locals providing them assistance with their projects. You do not need to have English as your first language but should be able to help them with English skills. You may work with another volunteer but mainly your time will be spent assisting and improving your Thai community.

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14. Are starting dates flexible?

Yes, you may come any time.

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15. What skills do I need for your projects?

You need to be willing and excited to work with others who are not from your culture, be flexible and have a great sense of humor about yourself and life. You must also be able to be culturally sensitive and act and dress and talk accordingly. You will have an orientation provided by Laekplian Lokgatat and at least one representative of Mundo.

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16. Can you meet me in Bangkok and help me get to my orientation?

We would be glad to help you get to our orientation if you do not want to take local transportation for a fee. We can also give you the phone numbers of guesthouses and hotels that are used by our volunteers so you can safely make the trip to your orientation by yourself. Contact us to let us know if you want to either

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17. How do I get to my placement and orientation?

Most volunteers travel from Bangkok by plane, bus or train to Udon Thani or by bus or train to Nong Khai. When you arrive you call us or let us know a head of time and we will meet you.

18. Why us?

We believe in the concept of short term volunteering for long-term development. This means that we believe in making quality cross-cultural experiences, international exchange and volunteer service available to as many people in the world as we can.

By providing help to rural communities who seek assistance in strengthening their communities, we believe we are enhancing our global community while improving and enriching our own lives in the process. Mundo Exchange happens to be a very unique organization that has promised to remain strictly not for profit, ensuring that the majority of financial help goes to benefit local communities and individuals, not to western pockets.

We are an easy going, multinational, accessible and idealistic group that offers you our experience, knowledge, open minds and a love for fun, diversity and adventure. We’re eager to develop a strong core of international volunteers who will help in international volunteer community development at all levels. We look forward to welcoming you

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If you have any questions not covered please either email us or leave a comment below. We will integrate newer questions into our FAQs section over time.